Frank Zappa On Failure

I mentioned earlier that I was reading The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso. I have found so much value in this book that I’m not even really sure how to review it. That will come later.

I did think it would be valueable to quote the opening of a chapter called ‘Failure’ (Chapter 18), in which Zappa describes many of the business plans that he had put together and tried to sell to venture capitalists and/or investors that never quite made it off the ground, one of which sounds a lot like iTunes.

I think the best thing about this quote is the philosophy expressed. Many of us are raised to fear failure, rather than viewing it as a way to figure out what doesn’t work. Some work environments reinforce the negative view of failure rather than the positive.

In any event, I like the way the concept is explained here.

Failure is one of those things that ‘serious people’ dread. Invariably, the persons most likely to be crippled by this fear are people who have convinced themselves that they are so bitchen they shouldn’t ever be placed in a situation where they might fail.

Failure is nothing to get upset about. It’s a fairly normal condition; an inevitability in ninety-nine percent of all human undertakings. Success is rare – that’s why people get so cranked up about it.

Its not only these simple statements that have an effect, but the whole book is pretty incredible. As someone who has struggled for quite a long time with learning a musical instrument, it was quite refreshing to hear Franks opinions and philosophy around music as well.

This book is way more than a musicians biography though. Its a pretty damn good philosphy book on the human condition as a whole.

I found so much value in the reading of this book. Not only that, as is typical when I read a biography, I have spent the week completely immersed in his music. Pretty amazing.